Here is the statement from Worldwide Dive and Sail's Siren fleet about the incident:
During the morning of 7th June 2012 the S/Y Oriental Siren, owned by Samui BP Holdings and operated under Worldwide Dive and Sailís Siren Fleet, had to be abandoned by guests and crew.
The yacht was making her way from Labuan to the remote Spratly Island chain for a 10-night diving safari at Layang Layang, Malaysia. Prior to departure, weather reports from both the Malaysian and Thai meteorological departmentswere checked. Both stated that whilst some swells of 1.5-2.5m were to be expected, the storm was passing and fair weather was predicted. Swells such as these have been very easily managed in the past when the yacht has made trips around Thailand, Burma and the Andaman Islands. However during the crossing, of 150 nautical miles, the yacht met with unexpected and severe conditions, including a series of high waves with no land obstacles for protection.
At approximately 5am, local time, just 12 nautical miles from reaching Layang Layang, water was seen by the on board engineer in the bilge; the yacht had begun to take on water. Emergency petrol powered pumps were employed and the yacht remained under power and continued to make headway towards the shelter and safety of Layang Layang Island.
The Cruise Director contacted the operations team who in turn contacted the Malaysian Naval Services stationed on the island. Meanwhile the guests on board were roused and brought to the muster station in preparation for the possibility of evacuation. At approximately 6am, local time, a report was given that the water had risen and disrupted the electrical systems and subsequently the main engine had lost power. The decision was taken by the Cruise Director and Captain to evacuate the guests and crew into the emergency life rafts. All guests & crew had been fully prepared with clothing, life vests and their documentation; however other personal items were left behind in the interest of safety. All the guests reached Layang Layang Island safely after evacuation.
No one, either guest or crew member, was injured during this incident and we commend all aboard for their management of this situation.
All guests are currently at the local resort on Layang Layang Island and an air transfer to Labuan or Kota Kinabalu is in process. The crew was able to salvage a few personal items of the guests prior to abandoning the yacht and the operations team is preparing personal kit bags with clothes & toiletries for all.
The team in Thailand has been busy contacting embassies and notifying the families of those on board. Meanwhile yacht owner, John Bethell, and co-owner of Worldwide Dive and Sail, Mark Shandur, have flown to Malaysia to meet the guests and ensure they are safe and get to their homes quickly.
Very unfortunate incident but the good news is no one was injured. Good luck to all those affected and hope they reach hope safe and sound without further incident.